a frog-green skillet and a perfect wild leek omelette

April 15, 2013

picking wild leeks 2

I’ve admired these skillets (there are three of them where I am staying) since I arrived in France.  And after I cooked with one, I had a serious case of pan-envy. So much so that despite having only a small roller-board suitcase (technically it’s carry-on size) I bought myself one to bring home. 

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These are not any old pans. They are made by Aubecq, a French company that has been in business since 1917. The pans have a good solid heft, a great handle, and provide even heat distribution when cooking.

This is my first ceramic coated non-stick pan. I’ve read the pros and cons. They are safer from a health-perspective and more environmentally friendly than Teflon and other non-stick pans but also comparatively expensive and according to numerous online reviews – the coating on many of these pans does not last well.

Aubecq’s Evergreen pans contain no toxic heavy materials, no PFTE (Polytetrafluoroethylene –  the basis of the non-stick coating used in Teflon) and no PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid – a  proven carcinogen in animals  and used in the production of Teflon and Gore-Tex), no cadmium and no lead. 

But best of all – the pans come in one colour – a cheerful frog green. They really are the colour of frogs!

lime green frog

photo source: www.luuux.com

One of my favourite meals this trip to France was a wild leek omelette, cooked in one of the much admired skillets.

I loved it because I think there is something so joyful in foraging for food.  Isabel Huggan, my hostess in France, let me take over her kitchen for the night. She showed me how to find and dig up the wild leeks properly, including replanting the tiny leek bulbs (known as bulbils) attached to the base of the plant, and then she left me alone to do my own thing. We had the omelette along with a salad of greens including dandelion leaves, fresh local asparagus and a glass of local white wine.

wild leeks in the ground

The omelette was wonderful –  a perfect ‘crust’ – but soft and melty inside. I attribute its success at least in part to the skillet. But also of course, to the wild leeks which were harvested only an hour earlier.
cleaned wild leeks

For the record, French wild leeks, Allium polyanthum, are not the same species as their North American cousins, Allium tricoccumwhich are considered a threatened species in Quebec and protected under provincial legislation. Wild leeks are also sometimes known as wild garlic, or ramps.

If you don’t have access to wild leeks – substitute green onions and garlic. About 1/2 cup of chopped green onions and 1 clove of garlic will work for this recipe.

wild leek omlette with fresh asparagus

Wild Leek Omelette (serves two)

6 wild leeks, cleaned and soaked in water for an hour then finely diced (remove the tough part of the stalks first)
1 tbsp olive oil
4 eggs
4 tbsp water
1/2 cup aged firm cheese, grated
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper

Sauté the prepared leeks until lightly browned and set aside.  Grate the cheese.

Whisk the eggs and water thoroughly. Melt the butter in a medium-sized skillet, over medium heat, and pour in the eggs. As the eggs begin to set, sprinkle with the sautéed leeks and sprinkle with cheese. Season lightly with salt and pepper. When the egg is nearly set, fold the omelette in half and continue cooking a moment or two longer until the omelette is nicely browned and the egg is set but not overcooked. Serve immediately  with a side salad.

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15 Comments

  • Reply An Embarrassment of Freedom April 15, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Wish I had that pan too! Hope the writing is coming along well! Enjoy! (nice enough weather today here in Ontario but the week will be full of rain)

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen April 15, 2013 at 11:37 am

      I hear those pans are sometimes at TJMaxx and Homesense stores. I’ll keep an eye out and alert you if I ever see them! I saw all that rain in the forecast. What a “spring” this has been in Ontario!

  • Reply johnnysenough hepburn April 15, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Would love to have one of those pans! As for wild leeks I’ve never seen them here. It’s been fashionable the last few years to eat wild sorrel and garlic, only the former tasted. Will have to Google.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen April 15, 2013 at 6:07 pm

      The pan is seriously gorgeous! Seriously! You’d love it – I just know. I think wild garlic may be very similar if not the same…

  • Reply Green Door Hospitality April 15, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Now you’ve got me having pan-envy! 🙂 And the omelette sounds fantastic!
    Kenley

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen April 15, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      Kenley – you might be able to find one – I looked online and saw the TJ Maxx sometimes have them. I know the equivalent store in Canada – HomeSense sometimes has beautiful French things like Emile Henry dishes and Le Creuset – etc. I couldn’t live with my pan-envy… I had to have one! They are even more beautiful in real life.
      Lindy

  • Reply apuginthekitchen April 15, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Lovely both the pan and omelette. I love leeks, I have seen wild leeks at the farmers market and will try them, Your omelette inspired me, I think I’ll have one for dinner,

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen April 16, 2013 at 1:39 am

      Thank you Suzanne. Don’t you love omelettes? Perfect easy dinner. If you can find wild leeks on your farmers’ market you should try them – the season is very short – and they are getting scarcer…

  • Reply laura mechefske April 15, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Frog green is truly the perfect sunny friendly colour for a new spring frying pan – and it matches the greenie feel of this omelette! Harvesting and replanting wild leeks – its an organic foodies dream come true 🙂

    I want to try this – but I don’t want to make it. I want you to come home safely from France and make it for me… Muma do it… Always so much better when you do it.

    xoxoxoxoxoxo

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen April 16, 2013 at 1:30 am

      I am looking forward to making you a wild-leek omelette soon! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  • Reply gotasté April 16, 2013 at 5:43 am

    Lindy, your omelette looks so good! How does wild leeks taste like? And I love the green of the skillet. With so many plus points, I guess it is ok to spend a little more for such a good product. It’s a good buy 🙂 …danny

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen April 16, 2013 at 7:24 am

      Hi Danny! The wild leeks are ‘interesting’. I tasted them after I fried them and found them quite bitter. But then when I added them to the omelette along with the cheese they were wonderful. Somehow the bitterness worked.
      And yes – I really love the frog-green pan! So French!
      😉 Lindy

  • Reply Maria Dernikos April 16, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Lindy you have sold me the pan, I feel I need it and of course deserve it. I didn’t before I read about it but now I have seen it, and seen what it is capable of. I have a strong desire to own one too. The green frog colour which normally I would pass on, has only made the pan all the more desirable. Carry on enjoying France.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen April 16, 2013 at 4:46 pm

      Obviously we are kindred spirits Maria! Once upon a time I could have waltzed past that pan without even a second look. Suddenly it became life-threatening to get one. 🙂

      P.S. The real frogs are making SUCH a racket in the river outside the barn window. Never heard anything like this before. It is fabulous!

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